We have mourned the death of Senator McCain and remembered highlights of his life, which were varied and many. The one I remember best was the graduation of his son John Sidney McCain IV (Jack) the first year of Barrack Obama’s presidency. How would he act when he was on stage to shake the hand of the man who defeated his very deserving father for the presidency? Would he appear sullen, angry or disappointed in front of thousands at the graduation ceremony for the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland?
Displays of such emotions were not options. He was an officer and clearly a gentleman. He shook hands and embraced President Obama with a huge smile. The tradition carried on – Americans are generous in triumph and gracious in defeat. Jack McCain was not only graduating from a school with that tradition firmly in place, but also was raised by a father who acted on those traditions.
The world remembers. Japan has been called “cruel and murderous in triumph and magnificent in defeat.” Banana republics are so-called because of their treatment of political enemies. A political defeat in our country means a shaking of hands and a promise to work together for the good of the country.
Is this tradition to be tossed aside by the losing party with violent protests and threats of impeachment before the term had even begun? Our young people know better. They display graciousness in losing at their sports events as they walk the line shaking hands or embracing the victors, even through tears of disappointment. The young have much to teacher us: smile, offer congratulations and work like the proverbial beaver to win next time. That’s the American way.
Gail Tansill Lambert / Roanoke